NHRC seeks ATR from S&ME dept, Keonjhar SP on schoolgirl’s death

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Bhubaneswar: Expressing concern over the death of a 13-year-old tribal girl owing to alleged negligence of her school authorities in Keonjhar December 31 last year, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has directed the School and Mass Education (S&ME) department Principal Secretary as well as the Keonjhar superintendent of police (SP) to file an action-taken report (ATR) in this regard within four weeks.

In its judgement February 19, the apex rights body said, “In case the report is not received within the stipulated time, the commission shall be constrained to invoke coercive process under Section 13 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 for personal appearance of the authorities.”

The NHRC directive follows a petition filed by rights activist Himanshu Sekhar Nayak January 17, the day this media highlighted the issue.

Nayak had informed the commission that Tapaswini Hembram, a Class-V student of Ramachandrapur Ashram School under Patna police limits in Keonjhar, died December 31, 2019 due to the negligence of the school authorities as they did not provide medical intervention to the minor girl.

“Although the schoolgirl was down with diarrhoea, the school authorities asked her family to take her back home instead of arranging medical care for her. With no option in hand, the victim’s father Nabin Hembram, a resident of Balipasi under Sadar police limits in Keonjhar, brought her back home where her condition deteriorated. The victim was later rushed to the district headquarters hospital where she was declared ‘dead on arrival’,” said the petitioner quoting the victim’s father.

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